Welcome back for another week of college football action! The Week 12 schedule includes some high quality action. There are two notable games that will likely impact the top of the playoff rankings. Michigan State travels to Ohio State, and Baylor travels to Oklahoma State. Jake has broken down those two games below.
For Bay Area fans, it's a huge day. The 6-4 California Golden Bears travel down the road to Palo Alto to face the 8-2 No. 11 Stanford Cardinal. This marks the 118th Big Game, with Stanford leading the all-time series 60-46-11. Stanford is coming off a tough loss to Oregon last week that effectively ended their chances at a spot in the playoff. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN.
A win would guarantee Cal a winning record, while Stanford clinches the Pac-12 North with the victory. Stanford opened as a 12.5-point favorite, but the line has come down a point or two, depending on the sportsbook you choose.
No. 9 Michigan State at No. 3 Ohio State
Time: 12:30 p.m. PT
The Big 10 and Big 12 will start to pan itself out these next few weeks, and that is exactly where we start. Michigan State taking on Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
Ohio State hasn't exactly looked up to par as what they were last year, however, the Buckeyes are still unbeaten through week 11. The efforts from Heisman Trophy hopeful Ezekiel Elliot, have been enough for OSU to squeak by some games with poor quarterback play from Cardale Jones. That below average play from Jones has translated into him being benched, and J.T. Barrett taking the reigns***. Barrett came off the pine and has caught a surge in Urban Myers' offense, and seemingly transforming the team.
As for the defense of Ohio State, well, they haven't disappointed. The Buckeyes are loaded with NFL talent on the defensive side of the ball, including highly-regarded DE, Joey Bosa. They have held six of their ten opponents to under 14 points.
I still think Michigan State is overrated. The Spartans have had close games with Rutgers, Purdue, Oregon, and of course, the loss to Nebraska. Not to mention, they were a punt away from losing to Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines over in Ann Arbor. Connor Cook is banged up right now, and against a very tough defense of Ohio State, I'm not sure how he will fare. Cook might feel uncomfortable and rushed when he's inside the pocket.
The defense of Michigan State is the key to pulling an upset in Ohio today. I feel the Spartans offense can put some points on the board, but can they stop the potent Ezekiel Elliot and company? Although I may think MSU is a team that receives too much love, Mark Dantonio's team could come into this game with an underdog's chip on their shoulder.
I don't see Michigan State winning this game. The Buckeyes out weigh MSU heavily. Huge playoff implications are brewing in Columbus.
OSU to top MSU: 27-23
No. 10 Baylor at No. 6 Oklahoma State
Time: 4:30 p.m. PT
The overrated Baylor Bears (in the minds of many), lost at home last weekend to an uprising Sooner team. Today, the Bears will play in a tough environment at the realm of the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Baylor: WR Cory Coleman is the most intriguing athlete on the Bears team. He has 20 touchdown snags and leads the nation in receiving yards. The Heisman hopeful was held out of the end zone last weekend for the first time this season. Look for him to rebound.
OKSU: CB Kevin Peterson has definitely been put to the test season. The senior has had the task of pairing up with most dominant receiver on opposing teams. The Cowboys will need another solid outing from Peterson.
Oklahoma State needs this win if they want to have any shot of getting into the College Football Playoff. With a victory, OKSU can clinch at least a share of the Big-12 title. Baylor has a slim shot of squeezing into that no. 4 spot in the CFB, but to even have the slightest chance, they need to come out and make a statement win in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State leads the all-time series 19-14. This game should be a shootout with tons of scoring.
OKSU over Baylor: 38-31